The Austrian farmer and forester practices "permaculture" a different kind of farming on his mountain property. With this certain form of organic-agriculture, he is very convincing and successfully. Contrary to all conventional rules and despite annual average temperatures of 4.5°C and an altitude of between 900m-1400m, he cultivates cherries, apples, mushrooms, kiwis, lemons, pumpkins, potatoes and zucchinis.
Contrary to all conventional rules and apparently inhospitable conditions, one man has created an edible landscape--and caused quite a stir in so doing. In forty years of observing nature, of unrelenting joyful experimentation and fighting government agencies, Sepp Holzer has succeeded in convincing his opponents of his way of farming, which means adhering to the laws of nature. He completely refrains from using pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. His golden rule for achieving success in farming and the basic principles of permaculture is to, "Cooperate with nature instead of fighting it. Observe nature to determine which plants support one another." Since 1962 when he took over his father's farm at the age of 19, Sepp Holzer and his wife have operated a perfectly functioning permaculture system. Laid out in terraces, his farm grows many crops not thought possible at an altitude of about 4200 feet, ranging from cherries, apples, mushrooms and kiwis to lemons, pumpkins, potatoes and zucchinis. Nature is sprouting and thriving everywhere, along the paths, on the terraces, in the woods, on extremely steep inclines and even on rocky ground. Within the mixed cultivation there are 45 water gardens, humid biotopes, ponds and three mountain lakes. It is here that the organic farmer breeds rare fish, toads, crustaceans and aquatic plants. His pigs plough the earth, harrow and fertilise it, and plants supply each other with moisture, nitrogen and fertiliser. In this way, Sepp Holzer has less work and more time to expound upon his methods of mixed cultivation to interested visitors all over the world.